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01-21-2011 - A game within a game

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Our reality can seem quite strange at times. If you make the following assumptions, various tentative conclusions can be made:

  • Our reality is experienced second-hand through electrochemical impulses to the brain
  • As a point of consciousness, our perception is limited to a single point of observation
  • There are no absolutes regarding social or cultural norms; imprinting, upbringing, conditioning and environment determine what is "normal"
  • No one can rigorously prove that the universe would be here if they weren't

The arguments against these assumptions usually deal with shared perceptions and beliefs, and they are pragmatic arguments, but they fall apart when put to the test. In a nutshell, there is no way around the subjective nature of our experience.

At the quantum mechanical level the observer cannot be decoupled from the event being observed. Whatever you observe will make other parts of the event unobservable. For instance, you can get the momentum or position of an elementary particle, but not both from the same event. The reason is that the act of observation forces the probabilities, or wavefronts, of the particle to coalesce into a concrete value. This renders other values indeterminate. If one were to assume that the quantum mechanical world has some linkage to our reality, which it necessarily would due to everything being made of these same particles, it underscores the prime characteristic of our reality as being the ability to create through the act of observation. In that, we may find the divine in all of us.

Here's a better description:

"In quantum mechanics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states by precise inequalities that certain pairs of physical properties, such as position and momentum, cannot be simultaneously known to arbitrarily high precision. That is, the more precisely one property is measured, the less precisely the other can be measured.
Published by Werner Heisenberg in 1927, the principle means that it is impossible to determine simultaneously both the position and the momentum of an electron or any other particle with any great degree of accuracy or certainty. This is not a statement about researchers' ability to measure the quantities. Rather, it is a statement about the system itself. That is, a system cannot be defined to have simultaneously singular values of these pairs of quantities. The principle states that a minimum exists for the product of the uncertainties in these properties that is equal to or greater than one half of the reduced Planck constant.
In quantum physics, a particle is described by a wave packet, which gives rise to this phenomenon. Consider the measurement of the position of a particle. It could be anywhere. The particle's wave packet has non-zero amplitude, meaning the position is uncertain - it could be almost anywhere along the wave packet. To obtain an accurate reading of position, this wave packet must be 'compressed' as much as possible, meaning it must be made up of increasing numbers of sine waves added together. The momentum of the particle is proportional to the wavenumber of one of these waves, but it could be any of them. So a more precise position measurement - by adding together more waves - means the momentum measurement becomes less precise (and vice versa).
The only kind of wave with a definite position is concentrated at one point, and such a wave has an indefinite wavelength (and therefore an indefinite momentum). Conversely, the only kind of wave with a definite wavelength is an infinite regular periodic oscillation over all space, which has no definite position. So in quantum mechanics, there can be no states that describe a particle with both a definite position and a definite momentum. The more precise the position, the less precise the momentum."

The point of going through this is that I realized one of the things that characterize my approach to life. Although I have faith in my definition of God, the game is rigged, or so my subconscious seems to be trying to tell me. If you are forced to play a rigged game, how do you go about it? Is it rigged, or are those "just the rules"? In this light, recognizing the limitations of our perceptions and playing by the rules while understanding the larger perspective seems to be the best course of action.

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